Puzzle Desk
USA, 1926/27
Paul Frankl

Frankl Galleries
Walnut, nickel-plated brass, brass, Bakelite
36½ × 21¾ × 29½”

Like all good design, Frankl’s earliest Skyscraper models were built out of personal necessity; ironically, during a time the architect was working from a distinctly rural environment. Frankl spent the summer of 1925 renovating his cabin in Woodstock, New York. In an effort to erect a unique shelving system that could accommodate a variety of both slender and bulky books, Frankl began experimenting with modular construction techniques. The resulting designs utilized spare, geometric shapes and unadorned surfaces that, when stacked atop a sharply molded base, mimicked the structural lines and contours of New York’s newest skyscrapers.

Frankl’s inclination to erect smooth, unadorned furnishings using skyscrapers as his inspiration exemplified the tenets of modernist design and thought. The resulting models were celebrated as quintessentially American, garnering reactions comparing Frankl’s furniture as the design equivalent to New York’s booming Fifth Avenue.  

By 1926, Paul T. Frankl’s duel cabinet and shelving units were officially recognized by ‘Good Furniture’ magazine as the ‘Skyscrapers’ and the name was forever cemented in design history. —MINNIEMUSE

Desk features seven drawers and two recessed shelves.

(Photo: Wright)